In the last five years, there is a heightening awareness and interest of educational technologies among teachers in Turkey.
Many private schools are spending more money on digital devices to become fit for the new century. They are also becoming wired with fiber to take advantage of the fast broadband connections, and the classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards, Internet connection, computers, and projectors.
Unfortunately, this situation is different in many public schools. Although the government is providing funding to build and upgrade schools, it is not enough to create the environment to adapt educational technologies. Most of the teachers lack confidence in their ability to use technology.
However, there are plans to change this environment. Turkey has recently initiated the FATIH project. The goal of this project is to improve the usage of ICT tools in the learning process through tablet PCs and interactive whiteboards in public schools. Once this project is completed, it is expected to encompass 570,000 classrooms in 42,000 schools all around Turkey. According to the plans for the FATIH project, students will be given tablets, and the classrooms will be equipped with Internet connection and interactive whiteboards that are compatible with tablet PCs.
Another project that has started in Turkey is aPlanet (Autonomous Personal Learning Networks), which is a European Unionfunded education project. The aim of aPlanet is to help teachers create their own personal learning networks, continue their professional development in an autonomous way, and acquire the skills and digital literacies to compete with the new digital world.
With support from the government and administrators, we are hopeful that Turkey will take the leap into the future with technology.
Özge Karaoglu Ergen is an EFL teacher, freelance teacher trainer, and educational coordinator for international organizations, schools, and institutes in Istanbul, Turkey.